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XII. Impediment. XI. Deluding themselves with the notion of Christ's dying for the Sins of the World. Why should they consider how to be rid of Sin, and lay the Pleafures of Piety before their Eyes? Why should they torment themselves with thinking how God's favour may be purchased, and involve themselves in anxiety and trouble about their transgressions, when Christ hath done all that is to be done; appeased his Father's Wrath against the lapsed Progeny of Adam, and purchased them a glorious Freedom from the slavery of a merciless Law? If he hath satisfied God for the injuries he received by their Sins, why should they make a new satisfaction by holiness of their Lives = Is not that it , which all Pulpits ring of, That the Eternal died, that we might not die eternally ; and that God would suffer, that we might escape Torments for ever? That the Innocent was punished for the Nocent, the Judge for the Malefactor, the Master for the Servants, the Just for the Unjust, the Good for the Bad, that we finned, and he was afflicted; we commited the crime and he was condemned; we trespassed, and he was tortured; we exalted our felves, and he was humbled; we were disobedient; and he smarted under the reward of disobedience; we did eat of the forbidden Tree, and he endured hunger for it; and we tasted of the Apple, and he of the Gall and Vinegar to expiate all ? Is it not this that all Protestant Churches teach? That
Christ would be crowned with Thorns, that we might have an incorruptible Crown of Glory hereafter; and that he endured reproach, and calumnies, and contradictions of Sinners against himself, that we might inherit everlasting honour! And why should they disparage Christ's sufferings so much, as to hope to gain Heaven by mortification of their Lusts, and poring upon their Sin and Misery? This would be to fall back into Popery, and to enslave our felves again into Superftition. This would be to make us subject once more to the Law of Works, and to marry us to the Husband, from which we were divor. ced by Christ's giving up the Ghost, even to the Law which neither we, nor our Forefathers were very able to bear. This would be to undervalue fo great a Blessing, and to tell the World, that Christ's purchase of eternal Glory for us was. imperfect; and without there be an additon of our own Works and Merit, that Redemption signifies little, and hath not strength enough to compass what was designed by it?
Thus Men prevent their consideration of Spiritual Concerns, and dash the checks and motions of their Consciences, when prompted to call their ways to remembrance. They examine not the end of Christ's death, nor their own obligations. They run away with the notion, that Christ died for them, and are not at all careful to know, what his death signifies; much like heedless Servants, who, before they have half their errand, run away, and when they are come to the place they are sent know not what Message to deliver. The Q-2
Doctrine is pleasing to their flesh, and that they ** may not lose their pleasure, they'll be sure not to enquire what the true meaning of it is.
Would they but caft their eyes upon that Bible, which they believe contains the Oracles of Heaven, they would find, that the great reason why Christ gave himself for us, was to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purifie unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works, Titus 2. 14. They would find St. Paul was of another mind when he wrote to the Romans, In that Christ died, he died unto fin once ; but in that he lives, he lives unto Godi: Likewise, Reckon ye, also your selves to be dead unto fin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not fin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lufts thereof; neither yield ye your members as iustruments of unrighteousness unto fin, . but yield your selves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as iustruments of righteousness unto God, Rom. 6. 10, 11, 12, 13; And that the Apostle is conftant to himself, appears from 2. Cor. 5. 52. Christ died for all, that they which live, should not benceforth live unto themselves,but'unto him which died for them, and rose again.
And indeed, this is no more than common gratitude; so great a Mercy challenges no less than Reformation and Obedience. For lesser favours Men require far greater things; for relieving a poor wrecch, we expect continual attendance; and for giving such a Man a Hundred Pounds in his necessity; we cannot imagine that he will ever be false to us. For Twelve pence a Day, a Gene
ral expects the Soldier, that fights under him, Thoald be true to him; and the day-labourer is chid, if being hired to go into the Vinyard, he doth nor perform the work he is set about with all faithfulness. Doth the Husbandman, that lows good Seed in his Field, look for Tares. Or he that plants a Fig tree expect Fruit. contrary to the nature of the Tree? tie that redeems ana ther from Barbarian Navery, doch it fo much as enter into his thoughts, that the Wretch can ever be so inhuman, as to despise, and scorn, aod vilifię so great a Benefactor: That God could have given Man access to his Favour and Reconciliation some meaner way, than through the Grófs and Death' of Christ, is very probable ; for what may not infinite Goodness do What may not the Fountain of Mercy do? What may not he do, whose Bowels of compaffion surpass the understandings of Men and Angels but it seerns he would not. This remedy was his choice, he would pitch upon this stupendious way, to amaze and astonish Men into holiness and feri. ousness. He thought Men could not possibly avoid being, Converts, and heavenly minded when they Mould see the Son of God wading through Blood and Death to rescue them from Hell. God looked upon the Mercy to be so dreadful, and the Kindness to be so full of Majesty and Compassion toge. ther, that he thought the incomprehensibleness of the Favour would carry Terror with it, and fright Men into Repentance and Contrition..
He thought Men would have so much, sense and modesty in them, as not to rush through agoQ3
nies and torments, and groans and fobs, and fighs and tears, and wounds, and stripes, of the Son of God into eternal destruction. He thought those Thorns and Nails that wounded that Sacred Head, would scratch and sting them into awe and reve. rence of so great a love; as they were rolling into eternal flames. He thought, they must divest themselves of all humanity and self-love, if under the Cross of Christ they could pursue their own damnation, and make the streams of that Blood a River to carry them into eternal darkness.
But thou hast seen, O God, and beholdeft, and canst not but behold it with Sorrow and indignation, how these Men, that pretend to be Chriftians, live the reverse of thy designs ! How they improye the Crofs of Christ, into affronts of thy power and glory! How, under that Tree of Life, they work out their own death! And how that precious Blood doth but encourage them to bid defiance to Heaven ; and the Sweat and the Toil of the Son of God, under the burthen of their Sins, makes them sweat and toil , to fall a prey to the merciless clutches of the Devil! If i bad not come, faith Christ, they had had no fin, i. e. their fin would not have been so great as now it is, John 15 22. So it is, if the Son of God had not spilt his Blood, and had Men disobeyed, their Disobedience would have received an ordinary recompence of Reward, but trampling on the Blood of the Son of God, that's a thing which must needs make God's indignation inexpressible, and astonishing. God indeed reconciled the World unto him.